Infomercials to aid PBL’s real estate push. The Nine Network is continuing down its chosen path of advertiser-friendly infomercials which masquerade as lifestyle programs. Its Melbourne-based program On Display, a free kick for the Victorian real estate industry, will be back this year. It was started last year and according to a statement from Peter Wilshire, Nine’s sales boss, it celebrates “the very best of new home design, urban housing development, apartments, as well as technology for the modern home and tips to help buyers navigate building their new home”. The fact that he, and not the Nine News and Current Affairs boss, Gary Linnell, or light entertainment director, Cos Cardone, is spruiking the new show tells the astute viewer just why the program is being made: to boost advertising income and not viewer numbers. It resembles the Sydney based program, Talking Real Estate, which aired late last year after the Rugby League season ended on Nine. It also was a free kick for participating agents. It’s no coincidence that PBL is about to start its long awaited move into online real estate with a number of agents and Microsoft, its partner in Ninemsn. Microsoft and four of the top five real estate agencies will join PBL in the new venture called The agents are: LJ Hooker, Century 21, Elders and Raine & Horne. Programs like Talking Real State and On Display should be seen as free advertising and promotion for the new website and nothing more. On Display is produced by WTFN Entertainment, the company responsible for the equally tacky Shopping for Love program on Nine on Friday nights in summer. — Glenn Dyer

Cricket gives Nine the week. Without the tip and run cricket and its longer cousin on Friday, the Nine Network’s win in the second week of 2007 would not have been so clear cut. Nine had won the first week of the year narrowly by 28% to Seven’s 27.3% but last week scored with a 31.6% share from Seven’s 25.4%. Ten was third with 19.8% (20.3% the week before), the ABC finished with 16.2% (17.9%) and SBS with a 7.0% share (6.5%). Tuesday night’s Twenty20 game boosted Nine to a 45.6% share and gave it a bigger win on the night than Friday’s ODI which boosted Nine to a 37.6% share. However, Saturday night saw a very different result as the ABC streeted the opposition with a 29.9% share from Nine with 22.7%, Ten with 20.9%, Seven with 20.1% in fourth spot (tennis isn’t interesting) and SBS on 6.4%. The ABC had five of the top ten programs as viewers deserted Nine, Ten and Seven. Apart from Friday night when Nine News won because of the boost from the cricket, Seven News won the week nationally and in Sydney. In regional Australia it was a clear win to Nine affiliates WIN/NBN with 34.2% from Prime/7Qld with 23.6%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 20.1%, the ABC with 14.5% and SBS with 7.5%. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings

The Winners: Excuse me, but were there any reasons for viewers to watch the Seven Network last night? It seems not, for the network finished a weak third behind Nine and Ten and just in front of the ABC. The love affair with the Australian cricket team did very well for Nine, although the Kiwis went the “violet crumble” in the end. 1.340 million people watched the second session of the game after 1.006 million had tuned into the Australian innings from an early 10am. Both had no impact on the prime time ratings results. Nine News averaged 1.147 million, just ahead of Seven News with 1.120 million. Nine’s repeat of What’s Good For You at 6.30pm averaged 1.118 million and The Boatique (a boat show) in the lunch session of the cricket, averaged 1.048 million. Waking the Dead on Nine at 8.30pm until 10.45 pm averaged 1.010 million. The 7pm ABC News averaged 1.007 million, then came the first session of the cricket in eighth. Ten’s So You Think You Can Dance averaged 964,000 from 7.30 to 9.30pm. Kidnapped on the ABC at 7.30pm was next; it averaged 861,000. Til Death on Nine at 8pm averaged 823,000. Seven’s next highest rating program was the repeat of Massive Nature at 6.30pm with 810,000. It was all downhill from then on for Seven.

The Losers: Seven’s schedule last night…

News & CA: Nine News won, boosted by the cricket, which although the game finished just after 5pm eastern time, some viewers stayed to watch at 6pm. Nine News won Sydney and Melbourne and Adelaide. Seven won Brisbane and Perth where the time difference worked for Seven and the ineptness in Perth of the Nine station helped there. Ten News at Five averaged a solid 754,000 and Sports Tonight at 5.30pm averaged 679,000. ABC News was solid with more than a million viewers. Seven’s Weekend Sunrise averaged 384,000 from 8am to 10am and again showed the benefit of remaining on air over the holidays.

The Stats: Nine won with a share of 29.6% (25.9% a week earlier) from Ten with 25.9% (24.2%), Seven with 19.8% (23.4%), the ABC with 18.4% (13.1%) and SBS with 6.2% (11.7%). Nine won Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Ten won Perth. In regional areas Nine won through WIN/NBN with 30.2% from Southern Cross (Ten) with 24.2%, Prime/7Qld with 20.3%, the ABC with 17.8% and SBS with 7.5%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Yet another black hole on a Sunday night for Seven. It must be written somewhere in the Great Book of Ratings Lore: “Seven will always bomb on Sunday nights.” But we can’t get enough of the winning Australian cricket team, despite the inevitable nature of the competition. The ODI series could be stopped at the end of this weekend: NZ and England could toss the coin to see who plays the final and we could have the finals next week. But what then would the Nine Network screen to enthuse viewers? The answer is nothing. Tonight it’s another “bore us silly till we nod off” night. Seven’s tennis will be the catalyst, closely followed by Smallville and Supernatural on Ten, Motorway Patrol and CSI Miami on Nine. Top Gear is back on SBS at 7.30pm (Boys Own Racing) and West Wing is on the ABC at 8.30pm.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey